IN THE NEWS
by Megan Mattingly-Arthur
Bagel connoisseur and New Jersey native Scott Campanozzi opened Wholy Bagel in Southwest Austin determined to bring the authentic taste of made-from-scratch New York- and New Jersey-style bagels to hungry Austinites who were, at that point, awash in a sea of frozen bagel companies.
The restaurant celebrated its fifth anniversary in April and has become a neighborhood favorite, thanks to its commitment serving high-quality, fresh fare.
“There was nothing like Wholy Bagel anywhere here,” Campanozzi said. “I've been all over Texas and I haven't seen a real, old-fashioned bagel store that does it from scratch daily, like we do. Being from New Jersey, I missed that. There are frozen bagel companies spread throughout Austin and the state of Texas, but I thought I'd bring a little taste of New York-New Jersey here to Austin. Since we opened here in South Austin, we have been very well received. The neighborhood has been great, the city has been good to us and we're thrilled to be here.”
Wholy Bagel serves breakfast and lunch all day, every day, and patrons can look forward to food that's 100 percent made from scratch and never frozen. The ingredients used are the highest available quality – from the high-gluten flour to the Australian poppy seeds that grace the Everything bagel. The restaurant also boasts a special oven that was made in Italy specifically for making bagels.
“We use a premium, high-gluten flour, which is your quintessential bagel flour," Campanozzi said. "They're kettled, which means they're boiled first, which is the proper way to make them. We do not use any high-fructose corn syrup and we do not use any preservatives. We also have one of maybe 500 ovens left in this whole country that was made in Italy for the Jewish trade of making bagels.”
Wholy Bagel's most popular menu item is the Everything bagel, which features poppy seeds, sesame seeds, minced garlic, minced onion and pretzel salt. The lox bagel sandwich, made with premium Nova lox, is another menu offering that keeps the customers coming back again and again.
Wholy Bagel's signature breakfast sandwich features Taylor ham, a pork-based processed meat that's all the rage on the East Coast. Campanozzi has introduced numerous customers to Taylor ham over the years, and has never had a customer who didn't enjoy the experience.
Also, while the bagels themselves may seem like the restaurant's focus, Wholy Bagel definitely doesn't skimp on the toppings – the restaurant currently offers as many as 15 homemade cream-cheese spreads, each hand-folded with real fruit and vegetables.
“We do run out often, so get here early or call in your order and we'll have it ready for you to pick up,” said Campanozzi.
By Tom Thorton
Austin's steady growth over the past five years has brought dramatic change in Central Austin: from skyscrapers to hotels, the signs of "New Austin" are evident everywhere. Less discussed, though, are the changes now happening outside the city center.
Southwest Austin now finds itself full of residents ready to spend on high-quality dining. As a result, new establishments are opening south of Ben White to big crowds and great feedback. Here are our picks not to miss when you're next in the 'burbs.
A more casual project from the group behind Uchi, St. Philip has attracted steady crowds to Sunset Valley since opening in 2014. The menu is now gradually changing under the guidance of former Uchiko chef de cuisine Page Pressley. Pressley has added new items like a towering bruschetta, which employs a base of avocado topped with marinated tomatoes and onions, radish, egg yolk and fresh greens for a starter (that one could reasonably order as a full lunch). The ricotta dumplings are another hit; the rich dumplings are lightened with fresh, bitter flavors from diced pea pods and the aromatics of mint. This is also an Austin menu that works for vegetarians: there's a indulgent broccolini sandwich with ricotta and sunflower seeds on a thick country loaf and an excellent cauliflower side prepared with Mediterranean notes of yogurt and raisins. There's ample patio seating here, and a bakeshop filled with everything from donuts to homemade hazelnut "Twix" bar for carry-out dessert.
A longtime secret of East Coast expats, Wholy Bagel's New Jersey owners replicate the comforts of a New York deli as well as anywhere in Austin. The star here is the bagel, and like Austin's barbecue scene, if you come late, you may be greeted with a "sold out" sign long before the scheduled 3 pm closing. For first-timers, ordering the Nova Lox sandwich is imperative: the lox (brined salmon) is matched with red onion, capers, tomatoes and a scallion cream cheese in what we'll simply call breakfast perfection. Other sandwich options include a solid Reuben with a light dusting of Russian dressing and sauerkraut or a burly breakfast special of Taylor ham, fried egg and cheddar. While you're here, grab a variety of bagels and freeze them — they're that good.
After accruing rave reviews on Rainey Street and East Sixth Street as a food trailer, the Detroit-style pizzas of Via 313 recently made a brick-and-mortar debut in the quiet suburbs of Oak Hill. The restaurant occupies the former Flores space, though you wouldn't know that given the redesign. The thick, square pies are here, as is a nicer selection of craft beers than you'll find anywhere else in Oak Hill. The seating is a mix of booths, four-tops and counter space, and the restaurant is full nightly by about 6 pm. You'll also find a new thin-crust "bar pie" on the menu and a limited selection of appetizers like meatballs, stuffed artichokes and cheese bread. Hours are dinner only, but the restaurant expects to add lunch service in early summer.
Sichuan River quietly took over the Tien Jin space late last year. The resulting menu has been a delight to South Austin's Sichuan fans, thanks to a number of dishes that were previously tough to find nearby. On our visits, highlights have included the salty, crunchy, sautéed green beans, which are served in huge portions suitable for group sharing. The spicy mala fish filets are another winner, as is the Chong Qing (dry-fried with chilies) chicken. For those even more adventurous, items like pig elbow, sour trotters and chicken feet with pickled peppers are available. The service here is polite and friendly, and the tables are filled with regulars. It's a much-appreciated addition to Westgate.
While the pizzas at Pieous get plenty of attention, we'd argue that the real reason to visit is the pastrami. The moist and peppery beef is perhaps the best we've seen in the city — though we're not exactly in the city here. You can purchase it on a platter with pickles, onions, bread and mustard, but we prefer to buy it solo — barbecue-style — and share it with friends along with a pie or two. Among the pizzas, the aggressively spiced House on Fire (soppressata, spicy onions, mozzarella and Calabrian peppers) is our pie of choice, but those preferring less heat can opt for the sweet and salty Bacon Bleu with arugula and bacon marmalade. Lines can be long: Go for a leisurely lunch rather than when you're in a hurry.
By Beth Stockwell Vanderkolk
You'd probably never guess this, but you can find Austin's very best bagel in a very unassuming South Austin strip mall. Located on William Cannon near Mopac, Wholy Bagel serves up the freshest, tastiest, New York Style bagels in town. Owner Scott Campanozzi moved to Austin from Jersey and set up shop cranking out bagels in South Austin just about 4 yeas ago.
Wholy Bagel serves over a dozen different types of bagels and homemade cream cheese every day- but if you don't get there early, you might not get your pick. Popular bagels like the Everything, Poppy Seed, Bialy, and Garlic run out quickly. And in line with New York tradition, you need to specify at the counter whether you'd like your bagel toasted. Wholy Bagel serves plain bagels, bagel sandwiches, and premium Nova Lox, amongst other deli meats.
By Amy Kritzer
Scott Campanozzi of Wholy Bagel.Austin may be known as the land of the breakfast taco, but for those craving a more carb-filled start to their day, only a bagel will do. When I moved to this fine state, I assumed my lox and schmear on an everything bagel would be replaced by migas. While I accepted this, some devoted bagel lovers went so far as to ship bagels in from their beloved tri-state area shops. But that was before Wholy Bagel.
Wholy Bagel, which opened on William Cannon just over four years ago (and they just renewed a five year lease) is far from your average bagel chain. If you've only eaten mass-produced glorified rolls, you've truly never had a real bagel. Owner Scott Campanozzi proudly explains what makes his shop unique.
"If I won't eat it, I won't sell it. It's my passion and I take a lot of pride in it. This isn't a franchise."
From the moment you walk into Wholy Bagel, you know you are somewhere special. The decor is straight out of a Jersey deli with photos of NYC and accolades from Epicurious and The Huffington Post rating Wholy Bagel one of the best in the country.
Campanozzi hails from New Jersey, and it shows in the best way possible. After he sassed me for talking smack in my last article on local Jewish cuisine, I regained his respect by asking for my bagel not toasted. If it's as good a bagel as he says it is, it doesn't need toasting, I claimed. Campanozzi silently nodded in agreement. I tried to pay for my lox and plain cream cheese on a poppy seed bagel, but Campanozzi insisted it was on the house.
"You're going to love this bagel so much that you'll tell all your friends and they'll come try for themselves. I think it's a good investment."
He was right. I was back with a friend in tow the next week.
Why are these bagels just so darn good? Campanozzi has a background in bakery distribution and has always had a passion for the breakfast treat. His wife graduated from UT, and the New England winters were getting to him. Austin has nice people and nice weather, so it seemed like the best choice for a move. When he got here, he noticed there were no real bagel stores in Austin, so Campanozzi decided to change that. His recipe is from the great great uncle of a high school friend, and his oven is from Italy and made specifically for making bagels. "It's older than me!"
The bagels and dough are made from scratch daily. They are proofed overnight by their baker (a Le Cordon Bleu graduate) and kettled (boiled) which gives the bagels that crunchy outside and chewy inside. It's a process, and they have to adjust everything to the weather.
They give extra attention to detail and flavor, making sure toppings like sesame seeds are on both sides of the bagel. "That's the way it's supposed to be," claims Campanozzi. And they have 16 varieties of handmade, hand-folded cream cheese. "Where else will you see that? We use no preservatives. The other guys- not really competition- use HFCS and MSG."
Campanozzi is not Jewish, but may be considered honorary. His high school was a third Jewish (he got the Catholic and Jewish holidays off) and his Yiddish is on point.
"I kibitz with a lot of customers. You could come back with crumbs all over your shirt and an empty bag and still get your money back if you are not satisfied." In fact, while we were chatting, a new customer remarked that she loved coming in here because she just moved from New Jersey. She loves seeing all the decor, and of course the bagels. Campanozzi took the time to introduce himself and ask about her. I'm pretty sure she would be back.
Why the name Wholy Bagel? There is the religious connotation, the whole grains, and of course, bagels have a hole in it! But Wholy Bagel is more than just great bagels. They have lunch specials such as Reuben sandwiches on a rye bagel. Their nova lox is sushi grade Pacific wild salmon, and they stock Dr. Browns sodas, Katz's Coffee, Espresso Coffee Soda, house-made cannoli, black and white cookies brought in from the Bronx and knishes and NYC style pizza on the weekends. "We make two pies. When they're gone, they're gone."
Wholy Bagel is more than a business. To Campanozzi, the employees are like family and customers are new friends. He loves when regulars come to him with ideas, which helps him come up with genius creations such as a Parmesan bagel with homemade sauce and sundried tomatoes.
Campanozzi has tons of seasonal items as well from cream cheeses, to NY style cheesecakes for Shavuot (call three days in advance to order) and even challah bread to order. And because this is Texas, when you order a dozen you get the Wholy Texas Dozen, 14 bagels from the price of 12.
Everything on the menu sounded amazing, but of course I wanted to know Campanozzi's favorite combination. It is the decidedly unkosher Texas with BBQ chicken, cream cheese, bacon, cheddar cheese, Stubb's BBQ sauce, pickles lettuce and onions all on a bagel. Intense, but delicious. As delicious as his bagels are, they aren't his only skill.
"If you like my bagels, you should try my matzah ball soup!"
By Claire Bullen
Ever since its entry into American culinary culture more than 100 years ago, the bagel has been an object of great fervor among devoted foodies, who are on the perpetual hunt for the perfect hand-rolled, boiled-not-steamed specimen. Whether you prefer your bagel plain, toasted, coated in poppy seeds, schmear-ed with cream cheese or draped in lox, we’re sharing our picks for the best bagel joints in the U.S.
The Bagel Factory - St. Louis, Mo.
More than 20 varieties of bagels are baked here each day, and the beloved recipe hasn’t changed since 1974 when The Bagel Factory was founded. Firm on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside (and selling for less than $1 each), the bagels from this St. Louis joint are a must-try.
Ess-a-Bagel - New York City
Renowned for their massive bagels, this old-school shop was established in 1976 by an Austrian baking family. Ess-a-Bagel has since been invited into the pantheon of New York favorites, with a variety of different flavors available every day (in addition to a number of cream cheese schmears and other toppings). The pumpernickel is one of their classic options, best enjoyed fresh out of the oven.
The Bagel Broker - Los Angeles
Open for more than 25 years, this family-owned shop has since become a Los Angeles-area legend. Here you can try some quirky flavors, such as jalapeño cheddar, but rest assured that their plain bagel with a schmear and lox is as good as any of the bagels you can savor in New York.
Wholy Bagel - Austin, Texas
This relative newcomer on the bagel scene is a hit among locals, selling out by 1 p.m. on a regular basis. New Jersey native Scott Campanozzi introduced the handmade, tasty treats to this southern city in 2010 after noting the lack of authentic bagel shops in Texas. Try the plain bagel with a sundried tomato cream cheese spread.
Absolute Bagels - New York City
Looking for that crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-light-on-the-inside bagel? Then head to Absolute Bagels, one of New York’s most acclaimed shops, famous for its never-ending lines in the mornings (and well into the afternoons on weekends). A tip: Choose your flavor based on what has just come out of the oven, and don’t even think about asking for it toasted.
Bialy’s Bagels - Cleveland, Ohio
This barebones bagel store is perfect for those who appreciate an authentic specimen right out of the oven. Do you like yours sliced and with lox or cream cheese spread? Then you’ll have to cut it yourself and personally grab the fillings from the cooler, as this no-frills shop is largely grab-and-go. True to its name, the shop’s bialys are also commendable.
New York Bagel and Bialy Co - Illinois
Known for serving the “best bagels in the Midwest,” this store goes through hundreds of crusty, dense and chewy bagels everyday. Their best seller, the “mish-mosh,” is coated in an eclectic mix of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, caraway, dried garlic, onion and salt. Hungry denizens can pick one up at any time of day – yup, the shop is open 24/7, perfect for those midnight bagel emergencies.
By Addie Broyles
You don’t expect to find a taste of New York in Southwest Austin, but that’s exactly what Scott Campanozzi created when he opened Wholy Bagel three years ago. The New Jersey native says he’s quite happy to have settled into the strip mall off William Cannon and MoPac, but even with the success of the little bagel shop that could, doesn’t have plans to open another anytime soon.
With that news, you might as well plan a trip to try one of Campanozzi’s bagels, and if you’ve spent any time in the Northeast, one trip won’t cut it.
Every day, the Wholy Bagel staff makes about a dozen kinds of New York-style bagels, including the hard-to-find egg bagel that gets its yellow hue from yolks used in the dough. You’ll find even more varieties of cream cheese, some of which have a flair you’d only find in Texas, such as one with Hatch peppers or another with bacon, scallion and Cheddar cheese.
On a recent visit, the woman working the counter was happy to let me try two different kinds of cream cheese (one made with olive and pimento and another with lox), one on each half of the bagel ($3.99). (A tip: In line with tradition, speak up — and clearly, repeating yourself if necessary — if you’d like your bagel toasted. I thought I’d asked for mine toasted, but I don’t think I spoke up loudly enough about it, but even untoasted, my everything bagel was everything I’d hoped it would be.)
My friend, who lived in Jersey City for five years, went straight for the breakfast sandwich bagel, ordering one with Taylor ham (a Jersey favorite), Swiss cheese and a nicely fried egg ($4.79).
You can sit inside the bakery on one of the barstools along the wall, but if you’re lucky and go on a nice day, grab the little cafe table on the sidewalk.
It’s not exactly Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, but it will do.
Dan Myers, TheDailyMeal.com
It's an indisputable fact that New York City is home to the best bagels in the country. Whether it's the water used, the hundreds of years of history, or some magic spell, it's nearly impossible to recreate the magic that is a New York bagel anywhere else but there.
But plenty of places come close.
In assembling our list of the country's best bagels, we used rather strict criteria. The bagels needed to be produced in adherence with the old-fashioned style: that means boiling instead of steaming, hand-rolled instead of machine-rolled (made entirely by hand is preferable), and once the product is finished, it shouldn't be the size of your head (that's actually a modern adjustment; they had to be made larger in order to be used as sandwich bread).
Also, a bagel should taste like a bagel. That should go without saying, but many store-bought bagels (and, we'll admit, most of the ones we get from bagel carts in New York), simply taste like round bread. A bagel has a malty sweetness that takes some nuance to get just right. Also, the crust needs to be an actual crust. If you squeeze it in your hand and it springs right back, that's not a bagel. When bitten into it should give slightly before the crust crunches away, and the resulting bite should be chewy without being dense, light without being airy, and deeply satisfying.
Also, crazy flavors and cream cheese varieties do not a great bagel make. Your jalapeño-Asiago bagel with bacon-Cheddar-scallion cream cheese is probably delicious, but if your plain bagel with plain cream cheese isn't up to snuff, you're not on the list. We also decided against including Montreal-style bagels, which are different creatures entirely.
The single most important quality to keep in mind when it comes to bagels, however, is freshness. Right out of the oven, there's nothing better than a crusty, chewy bagel. Let it sit around for a few hours, however, and you might as well be eating cardboard. Toasting a bagel should never be necessary when you're dealing with the country's best.
We found a few gems in some unexpected places, including two in the Chicago suburbs (but none in the city itself), and there's even one Florida-based mini-chain that claims that the reason their bagels are so good is because they replicate Brooklyn water in-house. And in New York, jumbo-sized gutbusters don't always rule the day.
Without further ado, here are America's top bagels. To keep the playing field even, the first slideshow has the best bagels outside of New York, and the second counts down New York's finest.
BEST BAGELS OUTSIDE OF NEW YORK
1) Kaufman's Bakery and Delicatessen, Skokie, Ill.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a New York-caliber bagel in Chicago proper, but if you drive about 16 miles north you'll come across Kaufman's, which recently reopened after undergoing an extensive renovation due to a fire. Not only do they serve up the best bagel outside of New York, they're also home to a full bakery and Jewish deli, making their own pastrami and corned-beef in-house. All the baked goods served here are made from scratch in the same technique since Maury Kaufman first opened it in 1955. Go for the chewy, just-dense-enough bagels, but stock up on other baked goods while you're there; it's also one of the best bakeries in the country.
2) BB's Bagels, Alpharetta, Ga.
Thirty miles north of Atlanta, this bagel shop is quite possibly serving up the best bagel in the Southeast. BB's bagels are hand-rolled and kettle-boiled, and come in plenty of varieties along with a wide selection of cream cheese flavors. But if you stick with the classics — namely the smoked salmon platter with a plain bagel, tomatoes, capers, onions, and cream cheese — you'll know why BB's is so high on the list. On the weekends they also bake fresh bialys.
3) Bialy's Bagels, Cleveland
Bialy's is a no-frills bagel shop, serving up bagels and bagels only. Want it sliced? Do it at home. Want lox or cream cheese? Grab a package from the cooler. Want to pay with a credit card? Go somewhere else. Ask what's hot and eat it right out of the paper bag.
4) New York Bagel and Bialy Corporation, Lincolnwood, Ill.
Thirteen miles outside of Chicago is the New York Bagel and Bialy Corporation, which reportedly goes through over a thousand bagels every day. They're dense, crusty, and chewy, and the best-seller is the "mish mosh," which is coated in poppy, caraway, and sesame seeds, dried garlic and onion, and salt, and is the perfect Chicago answer to the everything bagel. Bagels are just $0.75, and their selection of lox, smoked fish, and other "appetizing" is second to none. Oh, and they're open 24 hours.
5) The Bagel Factory, St. Louis
Beginning at 1 a.m. every morning, 20 varieties of bagels are made at The Bagel Factory in the same way that they've been made since 1974, getting a boil followed by a quick trip through a ripping hot oven. The finished product is not too big, crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and sells for less than $1 each. It's a small place with nowhere to sit, and it's cash only, but with bagels this good, no frills are necessary. (Another plus: they don't toast. If you want it toasted they make you do it yourself. Bagels this fresh don't need reheating).
6) The Bagel Broker, Los Angeles
Los Angeles is home to plenty of New York transplants, so when a phony bagel is placed before many Angelenos, they can tell the difference just by looking at it. Not so at The Bagel Broker, where bagels have been handmade since 1987 by two generations of the Tarnol family. There are some crazy flavors (jalapeño-Cheddar, etc.) but their plain bagel with lox and schmear is as good as any in New York, and they always seem to be fresh out of the oven. And we hear that they also make a mean bacon, egg, and cheese.
7) The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co, Various Locations
Yes, it's a bit of a gimmick to claim that the secret behind these bagels is that they're boiled in "real Brooklyn" water, which is replicated in the Delray Beach, Fla. bagel shop's own water treatment facility so it has the same properties as the motherland. That said, these are still some high-quality bagels, and the fact that owner Steven Fassberg produces his own water is a testament to just how faithful to the Old World style these bagels are. Crunchy on the outside and light on the inside, they're so popular that there are already many locations, with more in the works.
8) Wholy Bagel, Austin, Texas
In 2010, New Jersey native and former bakery supply-salesman Scott Campanozzi, opened Wholy Bagel in one of the least likely places: Austin. His bagels, while of the larger variety, are made by hand, kettle-boiled, and generally are sold out by 1 p.m. every day.
BEST BAGELS IN NEW YORK
1) Bagel Hole
This tiny, 27-year-old Park Slope bagelry makes bagels the old-fashioned way, closer to the style of the bagel bakers union that regulated bagel standards more than 100 years ago than that of its fluffy, oversized brethren. Bagel Hole owner Phil Romanzis bagels are small, dense without being heavy, chewy, have a great crunch, and are made fresh throughout the day, so theres always something hot to try. Theres no toaster, no seating; just fresh bagels and a refrigerator supplied with cream cheese, lox, and soda (they'll make sandwiches, but it holds up the line during the morning rush). Take the hint and eat the bagel hot, right out of the bag, on its own. Its big enough to fill you up, but wont send you into a carbohydrate coma. For the true New York bagel experience, Bagel Hole really is the winner.
2) Tal Bagels
Firm and crunchy on the outside, soft, dense, and chewy on the inside… Tal's been the standard-bearer for the non-fluffy New York bagel (which was in fact the original approach) for years. They're still big enough to make a gut-busting sandwich, but right out of the oven with butter is the recommended approach.
3) Bagel Oasis
Hidden on a service road off the Long Island Expressway in the city's Queens borough, this little bagel shop really is an oasis. Open 24/7 since 1961, Bagel Oasis' recipe — water, flour, salt, yeast, and malt syrup — hasn't changed since, and the kettle-boiling results in a crunchy outer crust and a moist, chewy inside. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
4) Terrace Bagels
On a charming street on the border between Brooklyn's Park Slope and Windsor Terrace neighborhoods sits the cozy Terrace Bagels, turning out near-perfect little rings of malty, chewy dough. Chatting with the countermen while waiting for your order makes for a perfect Brooklyn experience, and these bagels — fluffy, not too sweet, and big — make for a very satisfying meal.
These classic, old-school bagel shops (there are two) are renowned for their huge, crunchy-skinned, chewy bagels. Established in 1976 by Gene and Florence Wilpon and her brother Aaron (their parents were bakers in Austria before coming to the U.S.), these monstrous bagels, and the entire, slightly intimidating Ess-a-Bagel experience (Don't forget to try the smoked fish and other spreads, and whatever you do, don't ask them to toast your bagel!) are alone worth the airfare to New York. Try the pumpernickel.
6) Kossar's Bialys
They may be most famous for their bialys, the smaller, onion-filled cousin of the bagel, but the bagels made in this Lower East Side institution are among the best you'll find in Manhattan. Kossar's bagels are smallish, hand-rolled and kettle-boiled, dense and chewy, and always fresh. They won't toast or make you a tuna sandwich, but with bagels this good, any adulteration is unnecessary.
7) Murray's Bagels
Murray's has been turning out some of the city's best bagels since 1996, and it has some unexpected roots. Owner Adam Pomerantz was a vice president at Merrill Lynch before deciding to become a bagel man, and after apprenticing for a traditional wholesale bagel baker in New Jersey and studying every top bagel in the city he opened this charming little shop, named after his father (who would bring bagels home for the family every Thursday night). The secret? Traditional techniques, and the highest-quality ingredients available.
8) Absolute Bagels
For those who are fans of a less-dense bagel, Absolute is the bagel place for you. The cracklin' crunchy exterior yields to a light, pillowy interior that still retains the right amount of chew. Make sure to drop by early, when they're at their freshest, and pick up a couple of their mini bagels while you're at it. No wonder there are lines out the door every morning.
By Gene Davis
Thanks to Wholy Bagel, Austinites can have a delicious taste of New York while staying close to home.
Everything from the bagel recipe to the drink selection at Wholy Bagel is rooted in New York, where bagels are revered the way barbecue is in Texas.
“We try to give everybody who comes in here a little bit of New York here in Austin,” Wholy Bagel owner Scott Campanozzi said.
Campanozzi, a New Jersey native, moved to Austin four years ago and said he was perplexed that there were no authentic bagel shops in the Austin area. A longtime employee of the food distribution industry, Campanozzi decided to bring New York–style bagels to the area by opening his own store.
Wholy Bagel is one of only a handful of bagel stores in the nation that uses a 100-year-old-plus bagel recipe that originally came from a person who moved from Israel to Harlem, Campanozzi said. The bagel-making process Wholy Bagel uses includes making fresh dough daily, boiling the dough the next day, baking the bagels in an oven and flipping them.
The process gets seeds on both sides of the bagel and gives the bagel a soft, chewy inside and a crispy outside, Campanozzi said. Wholy Bagel uses one of about 1,000 ovens in the nation specifically designed for bagels, he said.
Meanwhile, most chain bagel stores in the area use frozen dough that was shipped from out of state and is baked in a steam-injected oven, Campanozzi said.
“It’s a heck of a lot more labor intensive and takes a lot more square footage in the store to do what I do, but it tastes a heck of a lot better,” he said.
Wholy Bagel has 17 varieties of homemade cream cheese spreads and 16 varieties of fresh bagels. The bagel sandwiches use premium Boar’s Head cold cuts. Wholy Bagel also makes cookies from scratch, has a pie line and brings in some products from the Bronx such as Black and White cookies.
Wholy Bagel offers breakfast and lunch sandwiches all day. Campanozzi said he is considering expanding the store’s hours so customers can stop by after work to grab bagels for dinner.
Campanozzi said he particularly enjoys turning Austinites on to East Coast specialties. When he sells a Taylor Ham sandwich, a New Jersey staple, he tells customers if they don’t like the sandwich, he will refund their money or make them something else.
“I have not had one of those sandwiches returned,” he said.
Wholy Bagel customer Laura Filipovich said she often drives 25 minutes from her home in Dripping Springs for Wholy Bagel. She said the bagels are so good that they don’t need to be toasted or slathered with cream cheese to be delicious.
“We are bagel people, and we know that you can’t really beat a New York bagel,” Filipovich said of her and her husband. “We came and tried it out, and now we’re hooked.”
Choose your cream cheese
The 17 varieties of freshly made cream cheese spreads at Wholy Bagel use real fruit and vegetables. Owner Scott Campanozzi said he is constantly listening to customers and introducing new spreads, some of which are based on customers’ recommendations. The latest spread, Texas Loaded Cream Cheese, has scallions, bacon and cheddar cheese.
· Low fat
· Sun-dried tomato
· Apple pie
· Texas loaded
· Chocolate chip
· Meet the meats
Bagel sandwiches at Wholy Bagel use Boar’s Head cold cuts and have double the meats and cheeses than most other sandwich stores offer, Campanozzi said.
· Double thick cut bacon
· Nova Lox turkey breast
· Pepper Mill turkey
· Pastrami, corned beef
· Premium ham
· Genoa salami
· Taylor Ham
By Thrillist @THRILLISTATX
Yankee transplants love bitching about not being able to find a decent bagel in Texas, as if punching a hole in toast and dropping an egg in it weren't close enough! Taking matters into his own hands, the guy behind Wholy Bagels
From a New Jersey bagel-man with nearly 20 years in the yeast-peddling biz, Wholy is South Austin's first authentic northeastern bagel spot, a tiny, high-ceiling storefront with walls adorned by both local artists and images of the Brooklyn Bridge and Yankees, both monstrously expensive structures that would result in hundreds of deaths were they to fail.
The chewy goods are baked fresh every morning at 4AM using a secret Jewish recipe from 1919, with traditional styles like garlic, sesame, salt, cinnamon, and everything augmented by Texas twists like cheddar jalapeno, all schmeered with your choice of six cream cheeses homemade with fresh fruit/vegetables by the owner, including blueberry, garlic & herb, veggie, strawberry, scallion, and rap-scallion, which costs an extra 50 Cent.
Breakfast fillers range from egg & cheese to rare-outside-Jersey fried Taylor ham, and for the lunch crowd they're rocking hefty sandos from Boar's Head pastrami/corned beef to cold-smoked Nova Lox, which besides being delicious can give you the skinny on our rich fossil record and the Periodic Table's newest element, ununseptium
To perk you up, there's coffee from NYC-influenced Houston bean-vendors Katz, whose small-batch blends range from the Austin-nodding "Bat City" to "Midnight Blue", named for the raunchy late-night New York public access show hosted by the magazine publisher behind Screw -- as if dropping your eggs in a hole weren't close enough!
By Rachel Feit
During my childhood spent growing up on the East Coast, an onion bagel with chive cream cheese was my favorite comfort food. But having lived in Austin for nearly 20 years, I gave up hope long ago of ever finding a good bagel in this town. So believe me when I tell you that Wholy Bagel, which opened in far South Austin earlier this year, has revived my craving for bagels.
Scott Campanozzi, the brash New Jersey native who owns the store, knows a thing or two about bagels. First, he knows that bagels aren't supposed to be sweet (unless they happen to be flavored with fruit), like they sometimes are at chain bagel stores. Second, he knows that a good bagel must be kettled. This is the initial boiling process that gives bagels their iconic chew. Wholy bagels have plenty of chew, plenty of air pockets inside, but are still crisp on the outside. Third, he knows that coatings like onions, garlic, or poppy seeds should be ample. Campanozzi's coatings cover both sides of the bagel – not just on one side or tucked into the dough.
He learned the business through years of working as a commodities distributor to bakeries in the Northeast. If you have the time and a willing ear, he'll tell you all about it when you visit the store. And if you're like me, you'll listen appreciatively, grateful that finally there's a decent bagel place in Austin.
Campanozzi also makes his own cream cheese blends, which means they're fresh, though I thought the scallions in the scallion cream cheese were cut too large. And he offers a variety of meats, veggies, and condiments to build bagel sandwiches at lunch. Order a dozen bagels, and Campanozzi will give you his Texas dozen, which unlike a baker's dozen, is 14 bagels, because, you know ... everything's bigger in Texas.